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South Africa’s Kosi Bay – The key to successful eco-tourism?

Kosi Bay is a wilderness preservation area nestled up against the border of South Africa and Mozambique. Instead of disinheriting the local Enkovukeni community of their homelands they have been incorporated into the Reserve.
Following on the heels of programs like Chitwan National Park in Nepal that has made an effort to promote local citizens and employees and to allow them to continue traditional practices, Kosi Bay has come a long way towards a peaceful co-existence between park employees and tribal peoples.

Tourists

This appears to be a good response to concerned tourists who feel uncomfortable visiting game parks whose creation has produced internally displaced refugees.
Ilsa, a Swedish tourist, has visited the Kosi Reserve bi-annually since its inception in the 1980s.”Talking to people in this area is very different from other places I have visited in East Africa. Here, there appears to be little resentment towards the conservation authorities. When I visit Kosi Bay I feel good that my holiday is contributing to the development of the local community.”
The Kosi Bay system is a huge area comprised of six large lakes, two smaller lakes and an estuary that lies alongside the Indian Ocean. During the early years of African conquest. the threat of malaria and fly-born stock diseases dissuaded early British and Dutch settlers from developing the area. Consequently, the local inhabitants lived relatively undisturbed for a hundred years or more. When the area was initially made into a reserve there was a lot of conflict between conservation officials and local inhabitants.
In 1982, driven partially by a mutual concern over the declining numbers of mussels along the reserves coast, conservation officials and park inhabitants began to seek a common ground and found it in this: the park inhabitants agreed to follow conservation guidelines for fishing and shellfish collection; in return, 25% of the parks gross revenue would go to the local Tribal Authority. This agreement, plus a 1998 legislation that allows subsistence fishing. has eased tensions greatly.
Today the activities of the locals setting their fish traps has become as much a tourist attraction as snorkeling over the reefs, bird watching and the interactive activities at the Turtle Research Station across the dunes at Banganek.

Miriam

Miriam helps to ferry the harvest of fish through waist deep water and greets a group of interested visitors. “It is nice to see different people interested in us”, she says shyly. “It is good for my family to have the tourists in the area. Once my sons would have been just fishermen like me, but now they are both employed. One is a waiter at a lodge and the other drives a boat for the Parks deparment.”
Miriam’s husband Enoch agrees and claims that the introduction of income from the park has changed their perspective. “Over there,” he says, gesturing towards the Mozambique border with a bloody fish gutting knife, “are people who come here to fish the reefs and cut down out forest trees. Once, we would not have worried about it, but these days we want to protect what is ours. Who is going to come here if our resources are all stolen?”

Co-operation

Constant dialogue must be maintained between the tribe, conservation officials and developers. Until recently Kosi Bay has been a relatively unknown park, but the 1999 incorporation of the park into the new Greater St.Lucia Wetland World Heritage Site has resulted in the construction of additional roads, an airstrip and a large resort which will probably change that.
Growth and development in the area is part of the conservation authorities’ policy. The KZN Wildlife Department has stated that it “recognizes that Nature Conservation can play an important role in the development of sustainable livelihoods.”
Indeed, the Conservation Board, non-governmental departments, local communities and other interested parties have input regarding the future. As Jeff Gaisford, at that time in the KwaZulu Conservation Media Division pointed out, “Part of the new KZN conservation act involves the creation of local conservation boards designed to give local interest a greater say in the management of our protected areas. We have a few up and running already, but they now include representatives from local rural communities and local businesses, as well as affected NGOs – so these are not purely community run. Our aim is to have all our parks with a local board and where it is not possible to have one board per park, we aim at board managing a group of smaller parks. This is in addition to the KNZ Nature Conservation Board that is the governing board of the entire organisation and is the “Big Brother” so to speak.”
Park development has already changed the local landscape. Many locals who would normally have moved away from the area now opt to stay. Already, there is evidence along the roadside of enterprising locals catering to the tourist trade. Utilizing local resources on a controlled and sustainable basis, craft shops have been set up.
However, cracks in the system of actually policing the private developers are becoming evident. Stalls selling firewood, cut from the fragile sand forest in the area, line the road for miles.
In a December 2002 press release, the KZN wildlife staff in the Kosi Bay area reported “a significant increase in the number of young animals and birds being offered for sale on roadsides.” This could be an indicator that locals are turning away from subsistence fishing and are becoming absorbed into a consumer society.
The close border with Mozambique is causing some concern. In 2006, fifteen Mozambique nationals were arrested five nautical miles off Kosi Bay. Their vessel, the Twanano was apprehended by the Marine and Coastal Management maritime protection services.
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Placing a value of wildlife conservation is vital to the survival of conservation in Africa. Educating tribal landowners has helped to limit land degradation and even financially benefitted displaced tribes. In a landmark court decision handed out in July 2002, a portion of the nearby Ndumo Game Reserve was handed back to the descendants of the original tribal people. They opted to allow the KNZ Wildlife Department to continue to manage the land.
However, this beggars the question: If the conservation of biodiversity is to become commercial in order to pay out all interested parties, will the focus move away from conservation and lean towards the “Pack the Tourists In” syndrome?
In the summer edition of the KZN Wildlife Magazine, editor David Muirhead indicated the trend may already be happening. He pointed out that conservation must be “made to pay for its keep” and the only way to do this is to “maximize” income from tourists. Over a ten year period accommodation within the Kosi Reserve grew from ten simple campsites to include luxury lodges which now sleep in excess of 180 people per night.
With the additional tourists, an increase in population on reserve fringes and pressure from developers, it may be more difficult for the hard-won co-operation to continue. Until then Kosi Bay seems to be an unusual example of sustainable tourism that works.

Source: the-newshub


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South Africa lags behind in responsible tourism

A National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) report has revealed that elephant rides are still widely available in South Africa, despite a growing international move away from the controversial practice.

The report by the NSPCA on the welfare status of elephants in captivity at 26 elephant back safari and sanctuary facilities nationwide (14 of which offer elephant back riding) reveals that nearly all captive elephants suffer welfare deficiencies in one way or another. This highlights the fact that South Africa is lagging behind in a growing global trend against using captive elephants for entertainment .

The report, compiled by the NSPCA’s Wildlife Protection Unit has been submitted to all relevant government departments in South Africa aswell as NGO’s nationally and abroad and offers a scientific overview of the cruel realities that many captive elephants endure physically and emotionally.

The report also confirms the lack of conservation benefits of the captive elephant industry, noting that WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) do not consider captive breeding a significant contribution to elephant conservation due to low breeding and high mortality rates. Also noted in the report is the high number of human injury and fatality due to public interaction with captive elephants.
According to the NSPCA report, more than half of the 26 facilities keeping captive elephants for public interaction use a method called “free contact” which includes the use of physical punishment by means of an ankus or hook to train elephants into submission.

“If tourists knew what it took to train an elephant for their ‘pleasure’, South African tourism could be damaged,” states Dr Mandy Lombard of Public Watch. “Although we hear of people being killed, only very few of the incidents where elephant handlers or tourists are attacked have been exposed to the public.”

In the rest of the world a growing movement against elephant back riding is emerging with many travel agencies taking elephant riding off their itineraries and dissuading customers from supporting the practice.
“We do not promote elephant trekking or elephant riding on Responsible Travel,” says leading online travel specialists ResponsibleTravel.com.

Adding to this, unlike South Africa, 37 countries across the globe have bans on animals in circuses including nations such as Mexico, Greece, Belgium and the Netherlands. Although not yet nationally endorsed, certain US states have also issued circus animal bans but England remains divided on this as political parties’ debate whether or not to change legislation.

Currently the NSPCA has cases pending against Brian Boswell Circus for cruelty charges and a further two against the owners of Knysna Elephant Park in the Garden Route for cruelty and the illegal removal of wild elephants.

Source: rdm


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How Viable Are African Golf Estates? The Future Of Golf Tourism In Africa

Golfers on holiday are the big spenders of tourism, laying out 120 percent more per day at their destination than general leisure tourists, according to a TravelDailyNews report.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup stimulated an interest in sports tourism in South Africa, where more than 10 percent of foreign tourists visiting the country watch or participate in sport events, according to TravelDailyNews. Of those visitors, 60 percent-to-80 percent are spectators.

“Golf is not an amenity or an excursion but a primary driver of incremental tourism,” said Peter Walton, President of the Global Golf Tourism Organization.

There are 54 million golfers worldwide and 25 percent will definitely take golf holidays in the next 12 months, Walton said.

South Africa’s golf industry generates 29.2 billion rand ($2.24 billion) and creates over 50,000 jobs, according to golf tourism statistics from the Sports Marketing Surveys of South Africa. Overall, the industry is estimated to be worth 58.4 billion rand ($4.48 billion), TravelDailyNews reports.

Experts on the business of golf will join African tourism stakeholders to talk about optimizing golf tourism at the upcoming Sports and Events Tourism Exchange, scheduled for Oct. 27-29 in Tshwane, South Africa. The theme of the event is the future of golf tourism. Golf experts from around the world will speak at the event.

Moderating the session on “Commercial Viability of Golf Estates” is Eddie Bullock. A golf management consultant who specializes in golf facility management, Bullock speaks throughout Europe on the future of golf club operations. He was ranked in the 2012 top 40 most powerful people in British Golf.

Africa’s many golf estates attract foreign investment.

“While change can be good, it is often met with skepticism, apprehension, and fear, Bullock said. “Having the right information available to your club can mean all the difference between the success and failure of a project”
Other speakers include Douglas Michele Turco, senior research associate with Sport Business School, Finland; Gillian Saunders, partner and head of advisory services at Grant Thornton; and John Nauright, a professor of sport and leisure management at the University of Brighton, U.K.

The annual Sports and Events Tourism Exchange is the only event of its kind in Africa and provides a platform that brings together businesses from the sports, events and tourism industries, and encourages collaboration between these sectors.

“Golf tourism is an important segment of the overall tourist market, both in terms of volume and spend-per-visitor, because it can drive substantial investment into resort developments,” said South African Deputy Minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa.

Source: afkinsider


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Road safety and tourism

EACH year when we attend the Cape Getaway Show many prospective tourists ask about road safety, particularly involving the N2 thoroughfare between East London and Kokstad in the Eastern Cape.

This link is recognised as one of the most dangerous in South Africa and this reputation can act as a deterrent for visitors seeking to have holidays away from the Western and Cape.

Thankfully we can offer inquirers the hassle-free option to take the Karoo and scenic R56 option via the Eastern Cape Highlands to Kokstad and then on to the coast. Not many people know this, but it is in fact the shortest route from Cape Town to the South Coast.

I have driven the R56 many times and can say that the roads are excellent, not congested with cars, public transport, heavy duty trucks, people and livestock and certainly one of the most beautiful and safe routes one can take.

What is clear is that a route to, and roads within a destination that have a poor safety reputation, can get the consumers asking questions and heading off to less daunting places to have their holidays.

In local media reports, it appears there have been an unacceptable number of unfortunate and serious accidents which may be ascribed to speed, non-roadworthy vehicles, alcohol, carelessness or a combination of it all. This is a worry.

We are committed to all and sundry having a “Sunny and Safe” experience down here. Besides the need for drivers to continually act in a law-abiding manner, a zero- tolerance approach by the authorities will also induce the motoring public to be more responsible on our roads.

I have been told by visitors that it is very encouraging when there is strong evidence of law enforcement. Their presence provides comfort to the motorist in that attention to road safety is being lent and that transgressions are being curbed.

One of the buzz terms in our industry is referred to as “Responsible Tourism” and I would say that attention to road safety by the public and the enforcement entities fits into that holistic approach.

In 1976 I spent five weeks travelling throughout the United Kingdom and in all that time I did not see evidence of a single accident (minor or major). I was amazed and impressed as would our visitors if they went home with a similar view of our district.

We can turn negatives into positives, tragedy into triumph – it just takes a collective effort. Please be safety conscious on our roads.

Source: news24


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Responsible tourism is about ethics, not marketing

Today’s tourists look for destinations that reflect their ethics. They want to visit real communities and have real interactions with real people.

“You can’t outsource responsibility,” says Harold Goodwin, a stalwart of the global move towards sustainable and meaningful tourism.

Giving the keynote speech at the 11th Responsible Tourism in Destinations conference – part of Africa Travel Week and World Travel Market Africa being held in Cape Town this week – Goodwin stressed the need for individuals in the South African tourism industry to make significant changes to the way they do business to make tourism more meaningful and sustainable.

Why not bool your seat in advance?
Why not bool your seat in advance?

“The argument for responsible tourism was made, and won, years ago in the United Kingdom and Europe,” says Goodwin. “The behaviour of tourists travelling from these markets has already adjusted, leaving them wanting authentic, genuine and sincere travel experiences, and yet the South African industry still insists on being provided with evidence that inbound tourists want sustainable and ethical, responsible holidays.”

Goodwin says today’s British and European tourists are “responsibly aware”, demanding long-haul holidays that offer local flavour and authentic experiences.

“They want to visit ‘real’ local communities and have ‘real’ interactions with ‘real’ people. They increasingly understand the political, economic and social impact their holiday choices have and look for destinations which support and reflect their ethics. They choose products and destinations that offer unique experiences, create a sense of place and contribute meaningfully to communities. They also understand that no two communities are ever exactly the same.”

Responsibility is free
Goodwin, professor of responsible tourism management at Leeds Beckett University in the UK, adds that making tourism “better” – better for tourists, better for tourism employees, better for local people and better for the environment – is the right thing to do.

He believes the South African tourism industry must stop insisting on being given a business case for responsibility, because there is none.

“You can either choose to be responsible or you can choose to be irresponsible. It’s a choice you make. Responsibility is free, it’s there on the shelf and you can take as much of it or as little as you like, any time you like.”

Responsible tourism means being responsible and ethical at every level of a tourism business. It is a choice of how to operate, not a marketing tool.

South Africa cannot afford to rest on its laurels, and has largely failed to capture the mass European market, says Garry Wilson, mainstream product and purchasing director of the world’s largest integrated travel group, TUI Travel. He effectively holds the world’s biggest chequebook when it comes to purchasing global travel products and he sees a lot of potential for tourism growth in the South African market if it can adopt a more responsible approach.

Although traditional inbound markets like the UK remain stable, South Africa has not seen significant growth from them over the past few years, and the number of visitors from emerging markets like China and India is in sharp decline.

Choosing how to operate
The marketing of the country as a tourism destination is handled by the government-funded South African Tourism, which does not actively draw attention to businesses or tourism products that are responsible and meet the ethical needs of visitors.

Responsible tourism is often misconstrued by marketers and industry professionals who present traditional culture and community activities that don’t offer sustainable benefits to local people.

“South Africa needs to focus much more on the transition to responsible, sustainable tourism practices and the development of products and infrastructure that support them,” says Wilson.

The challenge is to design better products, more effectively market those products and make tourism more inclusive and accessible, all of which are critical to sustainable tourism growth.

“Being responsible in the tourism arena helps to lower costs, has significantly lower impact on the environment, contributes to building better places for people to live and consequently better places for people to visit. It just makes perfect sense.”

Source: Mail & Guardian


 

Tourism is the point of convergence between the economy and the environment. The prospect of tourism dollars justifies conversation and helps to place an economic value on the environment – as such the tourism sector should be a leader within the area of sustainable business practice, and for some leading companies this is the case.
Tourism is the point of convergence between the economy and the environment. The prospect of tourism dollars justifies conversation and helps to place an economic value on the environment – as such the tourism sector should be a leader within the area of sustainable business practice, and for some leading companies this is the case.

 

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SA needs to cash in on its gardens

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden was the venue for a meeting between international tourism diplomats and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom yesterday.

To celebrate the fact the garden had had one million visitors, Hanekom invited Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of the World Tourism Organisation and David Scowsill, chief executive of the World Travel and Tourism Council, to enjoy the delights of the garden and take a walk along the Tree Canopy Way, better known as the Boomslang because of how the walkway winds through the treetops like a snake.

The delegates stopped to take photos of the mountain and the canopy below them.

The group ended the tour at the Moyo restaurant where they were welcomed by traditional singing and dance.

And then they got down to some serious discussions.

Hanekom said the milestone achieved by Kirstenbosch was a tribute to the hard work and vision of the South African National Biodiversity Institute.

“South Africa’s botanical gardens provided a window on South Africa’s rich natural heritage, exposing visitors to the country’s biodiversity.”

Rifai, who is visiting the country for the first time, said he felt privileged to be here.

“It is not often that we get quality time in a place; we are always being moved from one airport to another.”

Although the country had a lot to offer, it needed some repackaging.

“South Africa can, with out a doubt, celebrate diversity. But you need to engage more with international people. The world needs South Africa and you have a lot to offer.”

Rifai said the local tourism industry was missing out on a “great market” which could help boost the economy.

“The visa system is prohibiting many from coming to South Africa. It takes a lot of time and money to travel from one council office to another. For example, for Chinese people to get a visa to come to South Africa they need to travel to Beijing to get their documents, and often they have to return to the consular offices more than once.”

The secretary-general’s opinion was echoed by Scowsill.

Scowsill compared the country’s visa regulations to those in the US post 9/11.

“After 9/11, America was very strict on whom they allowed into their country, but three years ago they realised that this was impacting negatively on their tourism growth.

“They introduced an electronic and biometric system whereby you can apply online for your visa and all your information will be added on to the biometric machines so that you just used your fingerprints for identification and approval.”

Another issue raised was the need for an easy and affordable transport system for young travellers and backpackers.

Rifai said about 1.1 billion tourists travelled each year and a third of those were under the age of 29. Cape Town and its surrounds attracted many young visitors, but places were not always easy to visit.

“Young people come for week-long visits… if they want to go outside the city to understand the real South Africa they need a transport system that will make it easier. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated.”

Hanekom accepted the suggestions raised by his guest.

“The advice is very useful.”

He said his ministry planned to carefully examine the visa applications, and tourism requirements were being reviewed.

Source: IOL


 

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Community tourism pays back – key to responsible tourism

Among key tourist areas in Africa set for discussion at the ongoing International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) Symposium in South Africa is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania, one of Africa’s tourist heritage.

Community benefits from tourism development has been crucial for sustainable projects that benefit nations in Africa and raising incomes to communities living in tourist attractive sites.

In Tanzania, the local Maasai population is the center for discussion in a series of articles and news stories published by various regional and international media outlets, aiming at bridging a peaceful relationship between these communities and tourist stakeholders.

The Maasai community in northern Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area had teamed up with wildlife conservationists to establish a council, charged to oversee daily activities of pastoralism and economic development in the area by sharing the tourist revenues.

The Pastoral Council is allocated funds by the conservation authority for social and economic development projects, focusing at education, health, livestock extension services and income generating projects including a community modern hostel to accommodate tourists visiting the local communities.

Other than revenue gains, the Pastoral Council is currently pushing for employment rights to the Maasai educated youths, said the Council’s Chairman Mr. Metui ole-Shaudo.

He said the Council would like to see more locals getting direct employment from tourist companies making business in the Conservation Area, with more involvement of those companies to attract employees from local communities.

Located some160 kilometers west of Tanzania’s northern tourist city of Arusha, Ngorongoro supports the greatest concentration of wildlife left on Earth. It is a multiple land-use system under which Maasai pastoralists share the resources with wildlife, one of the world’s earliest system to be established in order to reconcile human development and conservation.

The Conservation Area has been occupied by wildlife and the Maasai cattle herders, and have lived together side by side for many centuries. The Maasai are the only people that move freely in the area with their herds of cattle, undisturbed.

Ngorongoro is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Tanzania and as such it’s an important economic resource to local residents, safari and tour operators, hunting firms, the region, and the nation.

Source: ETurbo News


 

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Sustainable events industry: Successes and failures

Event tourism is a growing global phenomenon. All events have impacts on the economy, environment and society – playing an important role in communities. Events add to the quality of life for local residents and driving tourists to an area. Events provide an opportunity to showcase positive community brands and image to the media, business community and visitors and further create economic impact that translates into jobs, tax revenues and enhanced infrastructure improvements. ‘Community Capital’ (as it is referred to by IFEA Africa, International Festivals and Events Association Africa) is built as a direct outcome of events, e.g. through exposure of artists, local community programmes and experiences.

Events include, but is not limited to, business meetings, exhibitions, festivals, entertainment, government interventions and sports events. The event management process of planning, preparing and production creates opportunities for rich localised work integrated learning experience and job creation.

The 2000 National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS1) provided the platform for a visionary skills development initiative. In 2002 the first learnership in Event Support was funded by The Business Trust working with THETA – the Tourism, Hospitality, & Sport Education and Training Authority. A sustainable curriculum was developed to upgrade service levels, build capacity and promote job creation in this field to generate increased economic revenues from events and event tourism. The skills based competencies were linked directly to internationally validated performance outcomes with wider opportunities for employment and career success (Silvers 2000). A group of 200 learners from across the Gauteng province participated in the year long programme that would took us into communities where we were privileged to participate in real community experiences.

The possibilities for events based on local assets created wonderful opportunities, as well, traditional event and event tourism. There is often criticism on the ‘waste of money on events’ – and our response is – which part of the event value chain? The agro-ecology – from the Urban Farm in Bertrams, in the Inner City of Johannesburg to the large scale farmers, from the local community markets to the 2010 FIFA World Cup – the growers, the pickers, the transport, the small and large food and beverage suppliers for events, the venues, the decorators, the event organisers, the event security, the event marketing, the recyclers…where is the waste?

The South African events industry has the potential to create 876,785 jobs by simply planning, preparing and producing small events, based on local assets in local communities. There are 4,277 wards in South Africa. In each of these wards, a group of 205 youth – entry level and graduates could embark on a skills development journey, mentored, coached and support by local businesses and event industry experts.

Our challenge would be to create and sustain a physical and virtual place- making portfolio of harmonized places, flowing one from another, yielding cross-demand through the portfolio, generating new forms of revenue, driving sales of authentic commodities, goods services and experiences (Pine & Gilmore, 2007) that could maximise the multiplier effect and contribute towards poverty eradication.

Policies like the amended BBBEE Act, the National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism, government commitment to procurement on 10 products from SME’s and Co-operatives, including Events all are in place to support enterprise development in the event value chain. However, the challenge remains this: With the best will in the world, you can’t buy local and support small enterprises and co-operatives unless the competencies, capabilities and capacity to deliver are developed and quality standards maintained.

This requires a commitment to sustainable skills development initiatives supported by industry and government. A number of event industry initiatives are under way with associations working with government departments on transformation, tourism, sustainability, health and safety and the professionalization of the event industry, including the formation of the Council of Event Professionals currently in process at South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

The journey, over the last fourteen years has included over 1,000 learnerships in urban, ‘rurban’ and rural South Africa, with events touching the lives of many new entrants into the event industry.

Evidence indicates that significant community development takes place only when local community people are committed to investing themselves and their resources in the effort. Each community boasts a unique combination of assets upon which to build its future”. (McKnight & Kretzmann, 1993)

It is these natural and built assets – commodities extracted from the earth, goods made, services delivered – that come together in the planning, preparation and production of small, low profile events. Local communities create an “Experience Economy in which Work is Theatre and Every Business is a Stage” (Pine & Gillmore, 1999).

One of the greatest benefits of events is social inclusion – and how the industry could turn eventing know-how into a collective vehicle for sustainable social and economic development solutions. This led to the start of Skills Village 2030 as a space where government, business and community could work together using events as the catalyst for change.

Skills Village is a bridge builder between the traditional and new realities – the industry having pioneered and protected the South African event knowledge systems and solutions – understanding the diversity and complexity of the South African, and Africa client’s needs. This created an understanding of how cultural products could be developed by training and empowering practitioners for the benefit of our society. The Skills Village pilot has proved that a realistic business and community space can be created and provided the best opportunity for enterprise, the development of human capital and nation building. Events through this process can grow a dynamic cross-sector that can strategically enhance the economic benefits of the industry, advancing extended industries exponentially through a co-operative linkage system.

The Skills Village model and framework are scalable and replicable – there are many individuals who have participated in in the one year training programmes who are successfully employed, or in their own enterprises able to sustain decent livelihoods. The visionary National Skills Development Strategy lll recognises the critical need for all stakeholders to work together: Academic Institutions, FET Colleges, the proposed Community Colleges, the Workplace Integrated Learning Experiences and Industry Certifications. The biggest challenge has been the lack of support for progression – if we really want to successfully unlock the potential of event tourism that benefits local communities, we need a four year plan, supported by Skills Development, that will take individuals through the different skill levels – Support, Co- ordinate, Manage, Direct. This should apply to the event organiser, the destination manager, the cleaner or the caterer, hiring décor or hiring transport, the Concierge in a five star hotel or the Community Concierge. The collective event industry can turn its eventing expertise into catalytic value for clients, for partners, for communities – delivering the best experiences, getting the job done right and making a different to the event practitioner’s lives that it empowers in the process.

Source: The Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Handbook Volume 2

 


 

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Top 10 Global Trends that will Impact Hospitality in 2015.

Millennials the New Power Segment

Exploration, interaction, and emotional experience is the hallmark of Millennials, the fastest growing customer segment in the hospitality industry, expected to represent 50% of all travelers by 2025. With the rise of millennial consumers businesses will need to be more transparent and tech savvy, with a strong focus on empathy and customer connection. Technology is essential for this demographic and they will expect technology to power check-in, payment, eating, and shopping. They will also actively engage in social media like Twitter, Yelp, Facebook, and TripAdvisor to complain. Millennials will expect a deeper link between tourism services and how they manage their everyday lives. “Foodies” are a distinct subset of this market looking for a gourmet experience at a reasonable prices. Culture buffs, LGBT and multi-generational travelers are looking for unique and novel experiences. Over half of Millennials stayed at independent hotels last year, 20% more than baby boomers. However, don’t count out the aging baby boomers that are living longer, are rethinking how to define retirement, and placing their energy in more creative pursuits.

Political Tensions and Terrorism

Around the world citizens have responded to increased government involvement with distrust and have begun to challenge entrenched political parties. Punishing economic policies and austerity measures along with ethnic, cultural and religious tensions have resulted in the rise in civil unrest. A megatrend found in Europe and likely to spread is the rise in populist movements that seek to regain national identity. The ability to efficiently deliver social services will be an ongoing challenge for governments. Countries and states with ethnic and religious tensions along with poor governance, and weak economies will breed terrorism. Transnational and free-wheeling terrorism enabled by information technology will replace state-supported political terrorism. In spite of collective actions to prevent, protect, and respond to terrorism, the threat will remain high in Europe and the US.

Deepening Income Inequality and the Working Poor

Inequality tops the list of economic trends to watch with the US viewed as the most unequal of the world’s rich nations. The wealthiest 1% of all Americans have 288 times the amount of wealth as the average middle class American family. Many predict that Asia will be the region most affected by deepening income inequality in 2015. Middle-income groups in many advanced economies are shrinking. Consumers struggle to pay down debt because their inflation-adjusted incomes have fallen since the 2007-09 recession.

Taking Control of Health and Personal Well Being

Taking charge of personal health will expand. Monitoring and adjusting your health will become more important as technology moves onto the body and consumers take greater control of their health. Tracking internal biochemistry and personal fitness data will result in more engaged and empowered personal health, and telehealth (remote consultation) will allow for higher quality and more personalized care. You can also expect to see more advanced devices to help people stay healthy and connect with their doctors, like devices worn on the ear due to the proximity to the temporal artery. The privacy and security of health records will become increasingly important in 2015 as medical records and online patient portals expand. The West Africa Ebola outbreak raises new challenges in managing infection and healthy living while traveling will require more innovative wellness options. Air purification, energizing lighting, a yoga space, in-room exercise equipment, and vitamin infused shower water are just the start.

Technology Driven Self-Sufficient Travelers

Innovative technologies on a mobile platform will be expected as more individuals rely on digital concierge services. Mobile check-in and seamless connectivity across platforms and devices is now expected. With geo-location software easily available, selling locally with a focus on content marketing is expected. Connectivity is key as more individuals are relying on information delivered through social software from virtual networks. Technology is better and smarter, and more integrated user experiences are likely. The smartphone is essential equipment for almost all employees, making it a potential tool for HR training and other workplace uses. Integrated outlets, USB ports, and wireless technology integration with hotel TV systems are basic. The iPod docking station is passé, but simple clocks are back in.

Sustainability and Resource Constraints

Eco-friendly practices are becoming the norm, and most hotels must have an attractive “green policy”, as travelers expect hotels to have some type of environmental program in place, while few are still willing to pay more for eco-features. Critical resources such as water and power are under increasing strain leading to price increases, volatility and even shortages. Global warming and energy use are affecting how we consume and live on a societal scale. Water scarcities and allocation pose challenges to governments in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and northern China. Renewable energy resource and innovative projects will shape the future of resource use, while regional tensions over water will be heightened in 2015. Falling oil prices, show how easy resource constrains can change, with a dampening effect on the power of countries such as Russia and Iran, while lowering prices for jet fuel, impacting growth in air travel, even as airlines acquire new fuel-efficient jets from Boeing and Airbus and replace old fleets.

Disruption and the Sharing Economy

Emerging new business models including peer-to-peer networks life Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft, multi-sided platforms such as Google and eBay, or free business models such as Skype and Flickr will change the business landscape. As peer-to-peer networks expand and grow they will become more professional and pose stronger direct competition to traditional travel services. Further, the growing popularity of meta search engines from big players like Google and Microsoft and the rapid growth of firms like Kayak may alter the user experience, define the mobile experience, lead to consolidation and impact partnerships with OTAs and hotels. As OTAs consolidate and expand their relationship with customers the costs of distribution will become increasing critical.

A Global Worldview

Increasing similarity and connectedness between nations, companies, and individuals. The globalized economy will be a net contributor to increased political stability in the world, although its benefits will not be universal. Continued transparency in global financial systems and free capital flows is likely. The global market for skilled and trained employees will grow while countries with aging populations will require immigrants to fill entry jobs. Expect more human migration. The travel industry is among the largest and fastest-growing industries worldwide, forecasted to support 328 million jobs, or 10 percent of the workforce, by 2022 according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. Citizens of Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom have the best passports for global travel (may enter 173 countries without a visa). In general, passport holders in North America and Europe have the most freedom of travel, while passport holders in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia have the least. Chinese tourists still encounter difficulty traveling abroad with only 50 countries and territories offering visa-free or visa on arrival access for this group of travelers.

Fewer People and More Data

Will staff be needed to clean rooms and provide concierge services? As more travelers prefer technology to human beings, bypassing the front-desk, using a digital concierge, and saying good bye to bellmen and other traditional positions could be in your future. Rethinking how to communication with guest will mean using more data and fewer staff. Recommendation engines will allow guests to obtain “good service” on an array of travel needs once handled by the hotel. Group planners will also expect easy online planning capabilities and fast rates. While a help yourself model will focus on technology to drive service, staff will need to be better able to create and execute on a “new” model of service.

Emerging Growth Markets

Global growth in GDP (adjusting for inflation) will be moderate at 3.2% in 2015, projections of 3.1% for the US, 1.3% for Europe, 7.1% for China, and .8% for Japan. Europe appears to be in an economic rut, Japan’s recovery is faltering again, and China while high compared to other nations looks to have its slowest growth since 1990. The US may be the most likely to power world growth in 2015. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest outlook called global growth “mediocre”. Emerging markets are challenged with inflation if they seek to grow as fast as they have in the past. Brazil will be challenged by slow growth and high inflation, while South and East Asia as well as much of Arica are projected to experience the strongest growth. Overall the global economy is taking longer to recuperate from the financial problems of the last decade.

 

Source: 4 Hoteliers 


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